Australian veteran Rachael Grinham rolled back the years to claim a stunning victory over top seed Sarah-Jane Perry to reach the semi-finals of the J Warren Young Memorial Texas Open, PSA World Tour Bronze tournament in Dallas.
42-year-old Grinham – the 2007 World Champion – took a shock two-game lead against World No.6 Perry, but the chance of a major win looked to have escaped her as the tournament’s top seed came back to draw level at 2-2.
A display of super shot-making from World No.31 Grinham saw her rack up points in the decider though as the claimed a narrow 11-9 victory to complete a shock victory.
“It’s still kind of sinking in,” said Grinham afterwards.
“Even winning in the first round of a $50k for me at the moment is great. I haven’t had that many good results because there are a lot of good players out there at the moment. Even though I haven’t felt like I’ve been playing badly, you’re still losing to a lot of lower-ranked players, and I think it hits your confidence a bit.
“I felt good getting through that first round match [against Egypt’s Menna Nasser], but I didn’t have expectations to beat SJ. I wanted to give it a good shot and play as well as I could. I know she wasn’t at her best today, but personally I’m really happy that I was playing really well, and I feel like I’m in good shape.”
She will play England’s Victoria Lust for a place in the final after No.4 seed Lust beat Belgium’s Tinne Gilis 11-2, 11-9, 11-9 in 49 minutes. After a comfortable victory in game one, Lust was made to work hard for the win in the final two games, but her speed and retrieval abilities helped her come through to win in straight games.
“It feels really good, it was a solid, 3-0 win and you can’t do better than that really,” Lust said.
“I’ve been to Dallas twice before, it’s a hugely popular tournament, and it’s always great coming back, everyone is so friendly and welcoming.”
The other semi-final fixture will be contested by two US hopes as World No.50 Olivia Fiechter continued her superb run to overcome Canada’s Hollie Naughton by a 3-1 margin.
Fiechter scalped World No.10 Tesni Evans in the previous round, and the New York-based 23-year-old won again in front of vocal support as she booked a place in her first Bronze semi-final.
“It feels amazing, last time I played Hollie was at the U.S. Open when I was 15 and we had a battle then too,” said Fiechter.
“I knew she was playing incredible squash, so I was going to have to bring my ‘A’ game tonight. I was trying to think about the squash and not about who I was playing, and fortunately I was able to deliver a great performance tonight. I’m really happy.”
Defending champion and US No.1 Amanda Sobhy will take on Fiechter in the semis. The World No.13 from Boston beat Egypt’s Nadine Shahin 3-0 in 22 minutes.
Sobhy said: “I’m happy to win in three, I’m trying to preserve my body because I feel quite old these days. I know Nadine is a feisty, up-and-coming Egyptian, so it was crucial to come out strong in every game.
“I’m very happy I did that because playing in a normal court is very bouncy, and it’s not really my style. I’m happy with my front court game and with the way I negated her attacks.
“We [Sobhy and Fiechter] just had a training camp in Florida last week, this week we’re sharing [rooms], we shared in Chicago together, so we’re spending every waking second with each other. I’ve been lending her clothes because she’s been doing better than expected, I’ve been lending her protein bars, electrolytes and giving her advice. But no more, that’s done, game face on!”
You can follow the live scores from the tournament here.
Results – Quarter-Finals: 2019 J Warren Young Memorial Texas Open
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 11-9, 3-11, 6-11, 11-9 (49m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-9, 11-9 (30m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 12-10, 12-10 (38m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (22m)
Draw – Semi-Finals
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Victoria Lust (ENG)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)